A recent study found that more pregnant women are using pot than ever before.
The Kaiser Permanente Northern California research program on genes, environment, and health examined approximately 4 million pregnant women who had to fill out questionnaires and undergo toxicology screens at the beginning of pregnancy and the eight-week mark.
The study was long-term and took place from 2009-2016.
The results of this study showed an increase in pot use from previous years, especially in young mothers-to-be.
According to the results, pot use jumped from 12.5-21.8% percent for teenage moms to age 18. It also saw a jump from 9.8-19% in pregnant moms who were ages 18-24.
When looking at all ages of pregnant women in the study, the percentage rose from 4.2%-7.1%.
One weakness of the study is that it relied on women’s self-reporting, which usually is not 100% accurate.
Also, the drug can be detected up to 30 days. Although unlikely, it is possible that some toxicology results detected pre-pregnancy use.
Lastly, the study was limited to California, a state that legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2016. Pot is more readily available in this state than in others.
Still, the findings show a dramatic increase in pregnant women’s marijuana use.
Why do pregnant mothers use pot? The answers vary, but there are some common reasons, such as relieving stress and combatting morning sickness.
Also, the attitude towards marijuana has changed in recent years. In fact, 29 states have now legalized marijuana in some way.
This new acceptance could increase the exposure to pot as young adults. According to drugabuse.org, when children are exposed to pot, it increases the risk of them using when they are older. It is possible that some pregnant women who choose to smoke have been around marijuana since they were young.
Why is this study important?
According to cnn.com marijuana during pregnancy could lead to hyperactive children and increases the risk of stillbirth by 2.3%. Moreover, smoking while breastfeeding could also affect a baby’s developing brain.
It has also been previously stated that pot use leads to higher alcohol intake. If a pregnant mom smokes pot and drinks, this would be another major problem for an unborn child, since there have been numerous studies about the effects of alcohol on a fetus, such as stillbirth, fetal alcohol syndrome, miscarriage, and behavioral problems.
In today’s modern world, it is difficult to be a mother. There is so much information to consider, and people are quick to judge, but when it comes to the health of your future child, one should make every effort to ensure that baby’s well-being.
Women should weigh the pros and cons of specific behaviors and think about the risks.
No pregnant woman is perfect, and they certainly have a lot on their minds, but there has got to be some thought about the calculation of risk. For example, it is one thing to eat a cheeseburger now and then and another to drink a six-pack of beer.
When a behavior such as smoking pot while pregnant presents the possibility of severe risks, it might be a good idea to take a break, or at the very least, cut down.
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About the Author: Amanda Clark resides with her family in Ocala, Florida. In addition to contributing works for Peace Quarters, she also creates educational content for Atlas Mission. She is recently transitioning from a full-time middle school English teacher to a stay-at-home mom, tutor, transcriber, and writer. She has written four books of poetry: Looking at the Moon, Beautifully Mixed-Up World, Flying Fall, and Through the Blinds. She loves technology, juggling pins, and playing with her two-year-old son who will become a big brother in February. She also is a pro at multitasking.